Yellow Fever : Know the Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment


The illness: yellow fever is spread to people via the bites of infected mosquitoes. It comes from mosquitoes that have the disease. It is a disease that may spread like an epidemic and is preventable by immunization. It has a substantial effect and a high risk of spreading internationally.

There are three ways that this illness is spread:

The first is Jungle Yellow Fever, and this is the most common one. Mosquitoes carrying the disease bite monkeys. They subsequently mostly infect other monkeys and infrequently other people with the sickness.

Intermediate Yellow Fever is the second method. Monkeys and humans are both infected by mosquitoes. This is the most typical kind of Yellow fever epidemic in Africa.

The third is known as Urban Yellow Fever, and it may spread like an epidemic when one person infects another. This occurs in crowded places when immunization rates are low. The virus is spread by infected mosquitoes from person to person.

This disease can spread easily if the place, population or country have mosquitoes to spread it. Contributing factors include environmental conditions for it to maintain and a mosquito population to transmit it. 

Causes Of Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is caused by an arbovirus. An arbovirus is a virus transmitted by vectors such as mosquitoes.  Aedes mosquitoes have a key role in transmitting it to humans by giving humans infected bites. Mosquitoes can spread very serious illnesses.

How to check if you have Yellow Fever?

Yellow fever is a dangerous infection transmitted by mosquito bites. 

Yellow fever may be found in the following parts of the world:

  • Parts of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Parts of South Africa
  • Parts of Central America
  • Trinidad

The mosquitoes that transmit the disease can be found in a variety of settings, including urban centres and remote communities. During the day is when these mosquitoes tend to bite the most

Even if you have had a vaccination, please try to avoid being bitten if you are travelling to a region where Yellow fever cases are known to exist. Our Prevention section has further information.

If you are bitten by a mosquito or display any of the symptoms of Yellow fever, please seek medical assistance immediately. 

Risk Factors Of Yellow Fever

Travelling considerations- 40 countries have a high probability of an outbreak of Yellow fever. There has been a considerable number of cases in the last few years. Travellers who visit countries that do not have a risk of Yellow fever, sometimes bring it to these places. To prevent an epidemic or pandemic, many countries require proof of vaccination against yellow fever before they issue a visa. 

Protection from Mosquito bites- Yellow fever is spread through infected mosquito bites. It is crucial to take precautions against mosquito bites if travelling to a high-risk area. Taking precautions such as insect repellent, and mosquito nets and ensuring the accommodation is risk-free can reduce the probability of people being bitten by infected mosquitoes. 

Yellow Fever Symptoms

Symptoms of Yellow fever require a minimum of 3 days to develop. Most people do not experience symptoms but if these occur they will be the following:

  •  A very high temperature
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain and backache
  • Eyes being sensitive to light
  • Loss of appetite and feeling unwell. 

Majority of cases, people will have symptoms for 3 to 6 days and then get better. 

A second tough period will be experienced by about 25% of patients. The following signs and symptoms will follow:

  • Extreme fever
  • Jaundice has an impact on body organs including the liver and kidneys. (Eyes and skin become yellow)
  • The urine colour is dark.
  • Constant pain
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding from the nose, mouth, eyes, or abdomen.

The danger of fatality is high at this point.

If you experience any of these symptoms or are in a location where you may have an infection, please seek medical assistance right once.

Please seek medical attention immediately if you have any of these symptoms and/or are in an infected area. 

When to get medical assistance?

If you display any signs of the above symptoms then please see your doctor. 

It is also important to contact your local medical team if you are returning or travelling to a high-risk area. Please consult a medical professional before planning a trip to any of the high-risk countries. We have outlined the symptoms to look out for and listed key countries that have a very high-risk rate. 

For any questions, concerns or queries about Yellow Fever, please contact the team at MedRec Hospital. 

Prevention Of Yellow Fever

Vaccination- A key way of preventing contraction is vaccination. It is the most significant method of preventing yellow fever cases and this turning into an endemic in many countries. The yellow fever vaccine has been trialled and certified as clinically safe and is within an affordable range. A single dose of the vaccination gives patients immunity against yellow fever disease. People who recover from yellow fever infection have immunity for life. 

To prevent endemics and loss of life some key strategies are: local vaccination campaigns, infant immunisation programmes at local hospitals and mass vaccination campaigns in areas of high risk. This is important to prevent yellow fever disease and transmission. 

Source control- High risk can be reduced by removing mosquito breeding sites. Breeding sites are found near any stored water. This includes anything with standing water such as pots and pans. Being fully clothed to stop bites and using insect repellants can also minimize risk. 

Detection and Reporting- Prompt detection and reporting can also be key in preventing an outbreak of Yellow fever. Vaccinations are crucial for preventing outbreaks and transmission of the disease.

Yellow Fever Treatment Options

There is no cure for Yellow Fever but symptoms can be treated whilst the body fights Yellow Fever. Treating dehydration, fever, and liver and kidney failure can help with recovery. 

    • Vaccination is key to preventing yellow fever.
    • Mosquito control can help to prevent yellow fever
    • Protecting yourself from mosquito bites is key. 
    • Painkillers relieve aches and pains. 
    • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.


  • Seek medical assistance if you or anyone displays the symptoms. 


Complications of Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is difficult to diagnose during the early stages. Very severe cases can be confused with other severe diseases linked to mosquitoes such as malaria and due to the similarities in symptoms. PCR testing in blood and urine assists in identifying the virus in the early stages of the disease. Later stages require testing for antibodies. At later stages of the disease, the risk of further deterioration is considerable. It can be up to 50% in some cases and lead to deaths.


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Page last reviewed: Mar 20, 2023

Next review due: Mar 20, 2025

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